Fifty years ago Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a romp on the moon. I was thinking about the astronauts who went to the moon this week. Amongst them was the fourth man to walk on the moon, Alan Bean.
He retired from NASA in 1981 to pursue a career painting. I guess he figured he'd paint what he knew, so he spent the rest of his days blissfully painting that far away place he visited so long ago. I imagine he could have taken up just about anything but he decided on painting.
His paintings are unique.
First, there is no other painter in the world who has first hand experience with the landscape and feeling of being on the moon. He was there, he experienced it first hand and he passes that down to all of us in his paintings.
Second, because he was allowed to keep his space suit and other memorabilia like patches, he thought he would incorporate some of that moon dust he brought back in his paintings. He mixes the paint and adds a bit of magic from November 1969.
Third, he used his space boots, and the hammer used to sink the flag pole in the surface of the moon to add texture to his paintings.
If you look closely at this painting, Spirit of Apollo, you can see the textures he added with his space boots.
I suppose this was not exactly as he saw things 240 thousand miles from our front door, but it's exciting to see how he wanted to convey the experience.
We owe a lot to these adventurers who took that round trip to our little grey cousin in the sky. It's motivating to see such a guy take up painting and sharing his experience and his work. If you want to read a bit more about this painting, you can visit his website and read it in the artists own words. The Spirit of Apollo.
Alan Bean passed away last year and was interred in Arlington National Cemetery on November 8, 2018. His funeral was marked with all the attendant flourishes you would expect for such a man.
Rest in Peace Alan, your work will continue to represent you long into the future.
You can visit Alan Bean on Wikipedia or his Website.
Now, you go out and make some art.
When I was growing up, I loved Leroy Neiman. I don't know if it was because of his flamboyant personality or the vivid colors in his paintings. He was, to me, one of a kind. He was pretty much the only modern era celebrity artist I knew about at the time, probably because he was always showing up on sports programs with his paintings.
His colorful paintings are iconic. To me, they represented the sports era of my childhood. He painted golf, football, baseball, The Olympics, and he even painted an album cover for the 5th Dimension. I remember seeing him on television a couple of times when I was a kid.
Neiman did his work in oil, enamel, watercolor, pencil drawings, pastels, serigraphy, and some lithographs and etching.
His paintings blast your senses with motion, strength, and color.
He wasn't a reclusive artist like Andy Warhol or Lucian Freud. I thought, wow, he's an artist and a celebrity.
There are still places you can see his work on the internet. If you want an original, you can expect to pay a few bucks. If I had the money, I'd be right there.
Check his work out on these excellent interweb sites
Leroy Neiman Website Leroy Neiman Foundation
Now go out and make some art!
This guy's a one-man marketing dynamo. He calls himself the worlds greatest living artist. At least he's got a goal. He's prolific, and he does come up with some work that I like. His name is Jose Trujillo.
What I like most about this guy is his enthusiasm, initiative, and his willingness to "go for it."
He was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. He came to the United States with his parents when he was around nine years old. Kinda like me. I came to this country when I was nine years old with my parents too from that northern border!
Jose lives in Tucson, Arizona. Maybe I should take a little drive down there. I've got other friends there I've love to see.
His paintings are impressionistic and he says he wants to follow in the tradition of Monet and the Impressionists.
I follow Jose on YouTube. He puts out a video almost every single day. He is energetic and does his best to share his knowledge with anybody who will listen.
In this video he shares his background and why he does what he does. He is a full time working artist. That is a feat all unto itself. It takes guts and a willingness not to hide your light under a bushel. I admire his moxie.
If you ever lacked confidence. If you ever needed a kick in the backside to get going. You might want to look up Jose Trujillo and see how he does what he does.
You can find him at these fine internet outlets.
I've been following Lori McNee for a long time. She's one of the first artists I came across on the internet.
Lori lives in Central Idaho, but one day in 2012 she came out to St Thomas.
Here she is doing a bit of plein air painting at the Ritz on St. Thomas.
Lori paints great landscapes but what I especially like are the bird paintings she does. What she calls her still life paintings are more quasi-still life because they all have some bird or other in the picture, and, of course, they are alive.
Lori has written for numerous magazines like Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market, The Artist's Magazine, and her blog, Fine Art Tips. She was an early adopter of blogging and social media, and it has served her well.
If you'd like to read more about Lori McNee to learn a bit about what makes her tick this article is a good read, Lori McNee-From Duck Stamps to Monet’s Garden.
I like reading her blog too, but you can find her in these exciting places across the interweb.
I always enjoy visiting Old San Juan. It has a beautiful historical Spanish Caribbean feel.
There are plenty of wonderful places to visit in the old town. We've visited Castillo San Cristóbal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro (old colonial fortresses on the north coast) several times.
There is something about sitting down for a cold Magna beer just down the street from Parque de las Palomas after several hours of wandering the streets of San Juan that can send me into an otherworldly state of mind.
I love to wander the streets of the old city looking for local art. I love local art that has a soul. I don't like things that look like sweatshop knockoffs from a third world country.
If you enter the city from the centuries-old Puerta de San Juan, you will find yourself wandering, like many weary travelers, up Caleta de San Juan towards the Cathedral.
Just before the Cathedral Plaza, when the church is coming into plain view, look to your left. You will find a small shop on the left-hand side called Tres Mujeres at 63 Caleta de San Juan.
This little shop is a cooperative run by, and you might guess if you spoke Spanish, Three Women.
This little shop displays the talent of three local women: Ceramics is the department of Yelin Vivoni, Enid Silvestry is in charge of textiles, and the paintings are brought to you by Dafne Elvira.
The artists themselves staff the shop so you're bound to meet up with one of them when you're there. This week we were able to chat for a little while with Enid Silvestry.
I really enjoyed looking through their shop. If you every get to Old San Juan wander up from the Old Gate and take a peak in their shop.
Go out and make some art!
This weekend we took a trip up to Prescott, AZ. Prescott has a beautiful downtown area. There were two places I visited that were particularly interesting.
The first was an outdoors outlet that sold all kinds of gear for the trail. Then, on our way in to have a beer at the famous Hotel St Michael on the corner of Gurley Street and Whiskey Row. Guests of the Hotel St. Michael have included great icons of the old west like Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday. Teddy Roosevelt and Zane Gray also stayed there. It has a real old time feel to it.
The complex that houses the hotel (110 S Montezuma St) houses the studio and gallery of Scot A. Weir. Scot's paintings captured my attention immediately and drew me into the shop. When I interrupted him, he was working on a canvas and talking with potential customers as they wandered in and out of the shop.
Scot was indulgent and humored me while I peppered him with questions. Far too many to put down on this little article. I didn't get hardly enough time to talk to him. I was with friends and I was summoned to move on. I'm sure he's glad they hurried me along.
Scot just recently moved to Prescott from Wyoming. His style of artwork fits the old west. His landscapes are stunning, and many of his paintings have a whimsical twist that I like very much.
His gallery is right in the middle of town, and his shop gets plenty of foot traffic. People were continually in and out of the shop, and he sold one of his original paintings while I was there. Congratulations Scot!
I can see why he's so successful, he puts his head down and get's on with the business. No fanfare, no hoopla, just a hard-working, exciting artist with a great eye, and what I thought was a good heart.
I hope to stay in touch with him.
If you want to see some of his work I'd suggest the following places online.
You might know Danny Boyle as a filmmaker. He's been a director, a producer, and a writer of some very memorable films like Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, and 28 days later.
Why is he here today?
Along with being an accomplished figure in the filmmaking industry, he is a tremendous organizer of things like the Queen's Jubilee and the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
This year Danny Boyle organized a massive art installation drawing images of soldiers killed in the last days of WW I across 30 beaches in the UK.
The images were drawn in sand at low tide and washed away as the tide came in. It was a moving exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the Armistice.
The reason this exhibition caught my attention was it reminded me of a photo of my Great Grandfather who was killed in action on December 17, 1916, just two weeks after his 39th birthday.
You never know what will draw you to an artist. Most of the artists that I've featured have been what the art world calls representational artists. To me, that means that you can recognize the images in artwork they produce. It represents a person, a rock, a plant, a landscape...
Claire Desjardins is not a "representational artist," her work is purely abstract.
She says, "my paintings make people happy, and that's a nice thing to make people happy."
I'm not always a fan of abstract art but this artist produces work that I like. Claire's work expresses her passion and the expertise. Claire calls the process that she uses "intuitive". I think that means she "goes with the flow". She discovers what the paint does in the process and reacts to how that turns out. It's something you can feel.
I like the colorful nature of Claire's paintings, and it doesn't hurt she's from Montreal! Claire lives about an hour north of Montreal in the most sublime setting. This little video will give you an idea where she lives and how she works.
Making money as an artist is an art all in itself. The way artists sell is changing all the time, and you have to keep up with the times. Claire sells her art online in multiple physical places like art shows and galleries. I like how she embraces social media in what I feel is an authentic way.
It's not all about selling your physical artwork though; there are other ways to profit from your artwork. Claire has partnered with the likes of Urban Outfitters' URBN - Anthropologie, and Microsoft Surface. She is now in the process of launching her first clothing line. The bright colors and abstract shapes make her clothes light up.
She will soon be showing her work at "The Other Art Fair" in Brooklyn, New York November 8th-11th. If you're in the neighborhood, you could stop by to see her live and in person.
I am delighted to introduce you to Claire Desjardins work.
I hope you take the time to visit her on the web. You can find her at:
There are a lot of artists who teach online, and I love artists who teach online. I think the artist I bring to you today is one of the best.
Anna Mason is one of those artists I watch paint all day. Her ability to create realistic paintings using watercolors amazes me.
In most of her videos on YouTube, she will walk you through how to paint realistically with watercolors. Sure, she sells online classes, and other tutorials, but her free videos are insightful to watch as well.
Anna is a self-taught artist that lives and works in England. She says she teaches you to paint watercolors with WOW. Well, I believe her.
On her website, she provides a video that explains how she teaches and there are plenty of examples on YouTube for you to look at as well.
Anna has a presence all over the internet and I would encourage you to see her artwork and watch her videos. I hope you find them as entertaining and informative as I do.
If you like color, if you want bright colors, you're going to love this weeks' artist. Her website is saved in my browser favorites and has been for quite a while. I go back and look at her painting a lot. They please me.
Linzi Lynn is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. Linzi studied theater when she was young, and she says, "both visual art and theater are forms of creative expression, inspiration, and entertainment." They are the different sides of the same coin.
Linzi is a self-taught artist who lives and works in Los Angeles. She studied theater when she was young, and she says, "both visual art and theater are forms of creative expression, inspiration, and entertainment." They are the different sides of the same coin.
I tend to agree with that. We all need ways to express ourselves in this life. Finding a way that suits you can be a very rewarding discovery. I'm not much of a connoisseur when it comes to theater, but I do know I like how she throws down an expressionistic painting.
She shows her work in galleries in and around Los Angeles. I admire how she creates exciting and colorful paintings.
She sells her artwork online at venues such as Saatchi Art Online, iCanvas, Fine Arts America, and Redbubble.
You can also see her art on her Website and her Facebook page.
This week's artist sends me back to my childhood. It sends me back to my teenage years at least when I was taking a cartooning class at Woodside High School. The instructor's name was Paul Buck. Some of you from Woodside might remember Mr. Buck and the art department.
The artist I want to highlight today is Al Hirschfeld. Hirschfeld drew caricatures and his style is quite unique. I was enthralled in my teen years.
When we were at the play last week at the Noel Coward Theatre I saw a Hirschfeld drawing of Noel Coward on the wall. It brought me back to my teen years.
Hirschfeld would "hide" his daughter's name in most of his drawings. He used to put a number to the right of his signature to indicate how many times his daughters name, NINA, showed up in capital letters in the drawing. If there was no number NINA usually only showed up once or perhaps the drawing was done before she was born.
One of the things you strive for as an artist is a unique style. Something that is your own. As Srini Rao might say Unmistakable. When you are the only one you have no competition. Herschfeld exemplifies that unique style. He was one of a kind.
Hirshfeld's drawings were published in a number of publications including the New York Herald Tribune, The New York Times, and others.
Though he is well known for his black and white drawings he also produced many full-color caricatures that were quite unique as well.
If you feel you'd like to take a trip down memory lane, back to an iconic artist of the 20th century, you could do worse than checking out Al Hirschfeld. He's not on Facebook or Instagram or any
You can find his work at The Hirschfeld Foundation website or you could just search his name in your favorite search engine.
He was truly the caricaturist to the stars and I want to thank him for this pleasant flash from the past.
Bold colors and grand gestures are so inviting, aren't they? They are to me anyway.
I'm going to throw a one named person at you today. Let me suggest you explore the artwork of Voka.
Voka's work is often bigger, bolder, and more colorful than life. He creates his artworks with very saturated colors and bold marks. His paintings jump off the canvas (or at least off the screen). His studio and gallery are in the eastern Austrian Alps in a place called Puchberg am Schneeberg.
He is a favorite amongst wealthy investors and cultivates a bit of a celebrity following. He looks bigger than life. When you're in awe of someone's work you're liable to put them up on a pedestal. I don't necessarily think that's a good thing, but it does help him cultivate a pretty decent following.
I don't want to do that. I'm not a pedestal kind of guy. I love the way he uses color expressively and makes paintings on a grand scale. I do like his style.